OTG's Defining NBA Moments of the Decade: Year 2011
OTG takes a look back at the top 5 NBA defining moments from each year throughout the past decade.
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Not One, Not Two, Not Three, Not Four, Not Five…
Via. Miami Herald
Honorable Mentions: NBA Lockout reduces the NBA season by 16 Games, Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal retire from the NBA at various points
5. Carmelo Anthony is Traded to the New York Knicks
2011 marked the beginning of the end of Carmelo Anthony’s career as a Denver Nugget. Fresh off of an appearance in the Western Conference Finals, superstar Carmelo Anthony made it clear the Nuggets head office that he wished to be traded to New York. After months of speculation, Anthony (and teammate Chauncy Billups) were flipped to the Knicks in exchange for a haul that included Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mosgov, Kosta Koufas, a 2014 1st round pick and swap rights in 2011. Despite joining fellow all-star Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo and the Knicks would go on to have a future that can only be described as disappointing. While both the Knicks and Nuggets would only make 3 playoff appearances in the 5 following seasons, the Nuggets would win 23 more games than the Knicks over that stretch. Which other NBA star has a more complicated legacy than that of Carmelo Anthony?
4. Derrick Rose Becomes the Youngest MVP Ever
One of the more pleasant surprises in the 2010/2011 season was the emergence of Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. During the wild free agency period that saw LeBron James and Chris Bosh take their talents to South Beach, the Bulls had signed Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver to their core of Derrick Rose, Joaquim Noah and Luol Deng. Tom Thibodeau would also leave Doc Rivers’ staff and become the head coach of the Bulls, winning coach of the year in the process. However, the biggest reason for the Bulls’ capturing the number 1 seed in the conference was the development of Derrick Rose. Rose would put up a stat line of 25.0 PTS, 4.1 REB and 7.7 AST, not only becoming the youngest MVP in league history but also finishing fourth in Most Improved Player voting as well.
3. The Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Kyrie Irving First Overall in the Loaded 2011 Draft Class
Following the franchise’s first season after the departure of LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers found themselves firmly in the lottery conversation after dropping from first place in the Eastern Conference, to last place. Luckily, the Cavs were able to pick up what would become the 1st overall draft pick in a trade with the LA Clippers, as well as old on to their own 1st round pick that would ultimately become the fourth pick. They would go on to draft Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson respectively, two players who would end up playing vital roles in the Cavs championship run five years later. However, the talent in the draft 2011 class didn’t end with Irving and Thompson – Kawhi Leonard (15th), Kemba Walker (9th), Klay Thompson (11th), Jimmy Butler (30th), and Isaiah Thomas (60th) and went onto become all-stars.
2. David Stern Vetoes Trade that would Send Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers
In December of 2011, the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets agreed to a deal that would send Chris Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first round pick. Forty-five minutes later, David Stern would call the Hornets to let them know that he would be vetoing the trade. Chris Paul would ultimately be dealt to the Clippers for a package that included Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and a draft pick. With the league owning the Hornets at that point in time, David Stern proclaimed that he was acting in the best interest of the team as well as the other small-market franchises around the league.
1. The Dallas Mavericks Defeat the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals
When the 2011 season finally came to a close, the Dallas Mavericks were NBA Champions for the first time in franchise history. Dirk Nowitzki and the likes of Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, Peja Stojakovic proved that a collection of savvy veterans could triumph above an overwhelming collection of talent. This series will forever be remembered as the Finals in which LeBron James disappeared, but if we are being fair, much should be made of the Mavericks accomplishment. Nowitzki was sensational on the way to this championship, and the team around him seemed to fit together perfectly. Not only did they beat the Heat in the Finals, but they also swept the defending champion Lakers in the second round and made quick work of the Durant-Russell Thunder in the conference finals. This Finals series not only would shape the future of the NBA to come, but it would also cement Dirk Nowitzki as one of the greatest players in league history. Simply making it to the NBA Finals in their first year together was enough to show the rest of the league that the Miami Heat will be a contender for years to come, but this year belonged to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.